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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Lennard G. Kruger
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

The United States Fire Administration (USFA)—which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA)—is currently housed within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation’s loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire.

P.L. 112-74, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY2012, provided $44.038 million for USFA in FY2012. The FY2013 budget proposal requested $42.52 million for USFA, a 3.4% reduction from the FY2012 level. Of the requested total appropriation, $13.327 million would be allocated to the National Fire Academy. On May 16, 2012, The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2013 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 5855). The Committee recommended $42.46 million for USFA, which is $60,000 below the Administration request and $1.578 million below the FY2012 level (a 3.6% reduction). On May 22, 2012, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $44.020 million for USFA for FY2013 (S. 3216). The Senate mark is $1.5 million above the Administration request. The Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (P.L. 112-175) funds the USFA through the first six months of FY2013 at an increase of 0.612% of the FY2012 level. Therefore, under the FY2013 continuing resolution, AFG is funded at $44.307 million.

The latest authorization of the USFA expired on September 30, 2012. On March 29, 2012, S. 2218, the United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act of 2012 was introduced. S. 2218 would authorize USFA at a level of $76.491 million for each of the fiscal years 2013 through 2017. S. 2218 was ordered to be reported by the Committee without amendment on July 12, 2012 (S.Rept. 112-180). In the House, H.R. 6229, the United States Fire Administration Authorization Act of 2012, was introduced on July 30, 2012. H.R. 6229 would authorize USFA at a level of $76.491 million for each of the fiscal years 2013 through 2017.

As is the case with many federal programs, concerns in the 112th Congress over the federal budget deficit could impact budget levels for the USFA. Debate over the USFA budget has focused on whether the USFA is receiving an appropriate level of funding to accomplish its mission, given that appropriations for USFA have consistently been well below the agency’s authorized level. An ongoing issue is the viability and status of the USFA and National Fire Academy within the Department of Homeland Security.

Date of Report: October 3, 2012
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: RS20071
Price: $29.95

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